On the 27th and 28th of July 2022, Intel in partnership with AfriLabs and African Business Angel Network held discussions on Early-Stage Deep-Tech Investing across Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.
It was an interactive hybrid event involving a diverse group of early-stage investors in deep-tech who shared insights and learnings within the African context. The session provided a deep dive into the pillars of the transformation and the emergence of Deep Tech in Africa, and discussions focused on the importance and role of the Deep Tech sector in economic development. The sessions also interrogated the role early-stage funding plays in this sector.
In attendance across the 2-days event was Dr Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Director, Government Affairs Africa and IGA CTO Liaison (PE), Intel Corporation, Nekesa Were, Director of Strategy AfriLabs, Snehar Shah, CEO, Moringa School, Tim Dagori, Board Member Association of Startup and SME Enablers of Kenya, Philip Thigo, Senior Director for Africa, Thunderbird School of Global Management, H.E. Thomas Wimmer, Acting Ambassador to Kenya, Federal Republic of Germany, Hon. Ms. Maureen Mbaka, Chief Administrative Secretary at Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Republic of Kenya, Fadilah Tchoumba, Secretary-General, African Business Angel Network – and other top stakeholders.
“At AfriLabs, we believe that world-class African hubs nurture innovators and entrepreneurs capable of competing and standing out globally. We have made our work the training and funding hubs, working with them to influence national innovation policies and offering hubs African innovation data to aid their work.” Nekesa Were said during her welcome speech. “Like anything worth doing, we cannot do this alone. This is why partnerships like the one we have with Intel matter.”
“Supporting digital entrepreneurship and tech start-ups in Kenya means bringing down barriers through the entire ecosystem, including those related to connectivity, payment systems, data protection, financial inclusion, and logistics. This is why entrepreneurs and female founders need comprehensive support structures that provide them with capacity building, affordable credit, and facilitated access to new markets.” H.E. Thomas Wimmer, Acting Ambassador to Kenya, the Federal Republic of Germany on why support for deep-tech startups in Kenya and Africa is relevant.
“According to the World Bank, deep tech companies bring transformative technology from the lab to the market in addition to democratised research infrastructure. Increased available funding has led to the rise of deep-tech companies globally, including in emerging markets and Africa, Kenya to be specific should follow suit.” Ms. Maureen Mbaka, Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Republic of Kenya also commented on why understanding how to support deep-tech startups is important. She also congratulated AfriLabs and Intel on their partnership.
Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Director, Government Affairs Africa and IGA CTO Liaison (PE), Intel Corporation in his opening remarks spoke about Intel’s mission: “Technology will play a critical role in building a digital future that is equitable, accessible, and inclusive for all. That is why Intel launched its new RISE strategy and 2030 goals. Through this strategy, Intel strives to create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable future, enabled through its technology and the expertise and passion of its employees.”
Another highlight was a hybrid workshop for deep-tech startups in Kenya and across Africa. The participants were introduced to Intel Ignite and Intel OneAPI programs. The session was facilitated by Dr Bienvenu AGBOKPONTO SOGLO, the Director, Government Affairs Africa & EMEA CTO Liaison, and a Principal Engineer at Intel Corporation, Mrs. Kate Hach, Head of Program at Intel Ignite’s accelerator in Munich and Mr Ralph Wargny, Leads the Intel’s oneAPI global virtual startup accelerator program for early-stage software innovators in AI, HPC, graphics.